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Eagles adjusting to new challenge

Eagles adjusting to new challenge

Eagles adjusting to new challenge

Navy's Alexander Teich is tackled by...

Coastal Carolina put up 45 points in last Saturday’s loss to Towson, but don’t let the numbers fool you.

The Chanticleers (0-2) scored only 21 points in regulation, watching a 21-7 lead slip away in the fourth quarter, and the other 24 came during the five overtime periods took Towson to come away with the win.

Georgia Southern (1-1) won’t get caught up in any of that. The transition from defending Navy’s triple option — in Saturday’s 13-7 loss in Annapolis, Md. in which the Eagles held the Midshipmen to 193 total yards — will be a tough one for the GSU defense as they face CCU Saturday in Conway, S.C. at 6 p.m.

"It’s a challenge for us. Can we play good pass coverage against Coastal Carolina? I don’t know," said GSU defensive coordinator Brent Pry. "They’ve got every weapon throwing the football that you can have. They’re really making us defend a lot. It’s a big transition for those guys from last week. There’s no question, we’ve got our work cut out for us."

Pry even feels the defensive line, which recorded 24 tackles including four for loss against Navy, has yet to be tested against a conventional-style offense.

"It’s way too early to tell," he said. "We made a few plays against Savannah State up front, and they toughed it out against Navy, but this is going to be a new challenge, and I’m just hoping we’re ready for it."

Though the Eagles held Savannah State to only 80 passing yards in the season opening, 48-3 win on Sept. 4, Pry wasn’t confident with the way his defense executed its 4-3 scheme.

"We didn’t do a whole lot against Savannah State and we didn’t do it well," he said, "so we’ve got to keep it simple and see if we can execute."

Offensively, the Eagles didn’t fare much better than Navy last weekend, putting together only 109 yards of offense.

"The bottom line is you’ve got to block," said GSU coach Jeff Monken, "and we didn’t do a very good job of it."

The one bright spot came on the first drive of the third quarter, when GSU put together a 10-play, 49-yard drive that was capped off with a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jaybo Shaw to slotback J.J. Wilcox on 4th-and-8.

"It just showed us to have confidence, and that we can move the ball against anybody when we do our assignments," Shaw said of the scoring drive. "Coming down and scoring on that first drive gave us a lot of confidence, and we’ve got to keep playing like that."

Georgia Southern has also committed a turnover in each of the first two games — a fumble by true freshman Robert Brown in the opener and a fumble by Shaw against Navy, and have yet to force one. Ball control has been an issue, with five fumbles through two contests.

Ball control and blocking are the two biggest weaknesses on offense according to Monken.

"We’re not doing a very good job, or they were better than us," Monken said about Navy. "It was probably a little bit of both. Defensively, they whipped us a bunch of times, and they’ve probably got guys at spots that are better than the guys we have. I think there were some spots where we had guys better than them."

The Eagles are no stranger to Coastal Carolina, defeating the Chants in Paulson Stadium in 2006 and again on the road in 2007.

Saturday will be CCU’s home opener in Brooks Stadium.


Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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